Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a partner of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, announced eight grants totaling $412,000 to support activities in California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Oregon to reduce the amount of derelict fishing gear in the marine environment. The grantees will leverage an additional $247,000 in matching contributions, with a total of $659,000 dedicated for this work that is anticipated to prevent more than 845,000 pounds of fishing gear from potentially entering coastal waters.
Since 1992, the NOAA Great Lakes Mussel Watch Program (GLMWP) has collected invasive zebra and quagga mussels from sites in the Great Lakes as part of its national contaminant monitoring program. Zebra and quagga mussels store contaminants in their bodies, a quality that suggests they may be useful as water quality biomonitors. Because they are stationary filter feeders, are abundant, and are relatively resistant to chemicals, their body tissues can be tested to reveal pollution where they live. In 2018, a team of marine scientists from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, NOAA GLMWP, and Loyola University Chicago joined forces to ask whether these invasive mussels take in microplastics along with chemical pollutants, and might they be indicators of microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes?
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce our FY 2022 Marine Debris Removal notice of funding opportunity. Projects awarded through the removal grant competition will create long-term, quantifiable ecological habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources, with priority consideration for efforts targeting derelict fishing gear, abandoned and derelict vessels, and other medium- and large-scale debris. Projects should also foster public awareness of the effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats, and contribute to the understanding of marine debris composition, distribution, and impacts. NOAA will also fund projects in the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border regions, subject to additional eligibility criteria.